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Had a good session last night working with the pack on contact skills. Don’t get me wrong, individual players have really good skills. We know what to do on the floor and at the breakdown but it’s the habits which let us down.

We send single runners up and the support just aren’t there quick enough. We’re getting turned over as our timing isn’t right.

Last night we worked on working on the floor – roll, post, jackknife etc. – and speed of the support runner. Being much closer, getting that half a second of time as the ball carrier works on the floor and then a fast, aggressive clean out. Getting out past the ball so our scum-half gets an easier ride at the back of the breakdown.

Reactions have been a bit of an issue for us in the past. We try to speed up training games by penalising or turning over if there is a delay in getting someone to the breakdown. Close support is critical for the kind of game we want to play.

Structure – warm up by working on the floor in pairs to switch on the core, then into some simple bag work. Just practicing the different working techniques and when you want to use them. Support players having to work much harder to go immediately with the ball carrier. Into a 2×2 drill with the first or second defender actively looking to jackal and needing to be cleared as an immediate threat. Good session with all players having to work hard. And only one head on head clash leaving a big bump on the forehead!